Bathroom, Pinterest
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The Curse of Pinterest


Did you all have a smashing time then? Ate, drank and were merry? Excellent! Just trying to engage brain long enough to get the blog rolling again. So bear with me on this one eh?

Here goes….

It’s this time of year, after spending far too much time sitting on the sofa, watching Chrimbo films and eating way too many family sized treats, that people fancy making some changes at home. You kind of see it with fresh eyes again when the Chrimbo decs have come down don’t you think? And it’s miserable outside, so we’re all spending way more time at home than we’d probably like…. everyone surfing the ole tinterweb for sales goodies and interior inspiration.

Since the launch of Pinterest back in 2010, it’s completely changed the way we find said inspiration. Long gone are the days where we needed to subscribe to the latest interior decor mag, it’s all there for us online. Which brings me onto Pinterest, one of my most used accounts, for both business and pleasure. Love it. Well, slightly less since every mother flipper is advertising their crap on there. But on the whole, it’s changed the way a lot of us find inspo. Whether it’s fashion, art, crafts, cooking, interiors, whatever… most people now have a Pinterest account.

Which makes my job both easier and HARDER at the same time.

Why’s that then?

What some people don’t need, is more stimulus, more inspiration. It can be distracting. And distraction prevents you from making decisions and moving forward with a project. When I create a Pinterest board for a client, I rarely Pin actual rooms. I might show some general room ideas to get the ball rolling but then for your actual board, I pin individual products, pieces you can link back to and buy, actual paint colours you can source here in the UK, perhaps a pic showing the paint colour on a wall to give the client an idea of how a square block of colour translates on a real life wall. But generally, I find the more room ideas you look at, the more confusing and watered down an initial concept becomes.

Middleton Lodge Bedroom | My bedroom – So many options!

When I was planning our loft bathroom, I knew I wanted monochrome and loved the idea of hexagon tiles. So we decided on that. And then I kept seeing other bathroom ideas pop up on Pinterest and I was like, ooh but I like that and ooh what if we did this instead. Hubby loved that, so very much.

A bit of this flip-flopping between ideas is good, it helps you hone in on exactly what you want. But continuing to look on Pinterest once you’ve ordered the tiles is annoying, and you can find yourself going around in circles for months. Years in fact. The more you look the more you find and the images just keep on coming. I’ve worked with clients that haven’t been able to make a decision on something for longer than I’d care to say. Some still Pinning away like champs. More ideas are not the answer. Actioning an idea is.

Pinterest Tip 1 – You can’t use ALL the ideas in one project

Walk in shower room with marble hex tiles

Loft Bathroom

As much as you might try… sticking to your core idea and making it yours will give you the most cohesive and successful scheme. So whatever you keep going back to, stick with that and don’t look back.


Pinterest Tip 2 – Be specific, otherwise Pinterest will decide what you see

Did you know Pinterest chooses what it shows you? Well its algorithm does. Look what happens when I search for “bedroom ideas” (which is a rubbish search term by the way), you get this:

My top 3 tips for getting the most out of Pinterest

Do you notice anything similar in most of these images at all?

  • Neutral, pale painted walls
  • Grey, square upholstered headboards
  • Some kind of blush pink bedding

Not a lot of variety here is there? Nope, that’s because of the rubbish, generic search term; “bedroom ideas”. Pinterest are simply showing you the most Pinned images. And two adverts (the ones with the word ‘Promoted’ underneath). And guess what? Let’s say you like that one bottom right with the copper bedside pendant light. You Pin that to your own “Bedroom Ideas” board…. guess what Pinterest are going to show you next?

That’s right. A whole heap of more grey/blush/neutral bedrooms. True story.

If you’re searching Pinterest for inspiration, what comes back isn’t going to be particularly varied. Not unless you get down to the nitty gritty and be specific with your search. So ask yourself some of these questions to get you started: Let’s stick with a bedroom again:

  • Wall colour? Dark, light, paint, wallpaper, something else?
  • What kind of bed? Wood, four poster, upholstered, platform, futon, metal, something else?
  • Kind of flooring? Carpet, floorboards, tiles, something else?
  • What feel? Luxury, Scandinavian, Eclectic, Industrial, Minimal, Maximal, Country, Boutique etc…?

Now, try and answer two or three of those questions above and pop a more refined search into Pinterest. This way you can hone down your search, seeing images that float your boat and not the algorithm’s.



Onto my biggest Pinterest gripe. People pinning oodles and oodles of properties that resemble nothing like the one they live in.

“I love this room, can you make my living room look like this?”

Victorian Bay Window

Victorian Villa

“Yeah sure, no problems….”

Oh great.

“…. If you move house. You’ve got a north-facing, 70’s semi-detached with concrete floors, 2.3m ceilings and standard UPVC windows.”

Pinterest Tip 3 – Be realistic

The number of times clients have shown me their Pinterest boards and they’re full of:

  • Period properties (high ceilings, period detailing, wooden floorboards, bay windows etc..)
  • American properties (generally much larger, more open plan with a different light than we have here in the UK)
  • An interiors/room set (a space that’s designed and set up to look good from one angle for a photoshoot. Nobody real lives there)
  • A rendered image (a space that doesn’t even exist)

Now this isn’t a problem if you live in one of those gorgeous period homes with the double aspect windows, high ceilings etc.. but if you don’t, then… we can certainly take elements from the images you’ve shown me, but if it’s the Victorian double height windows you’ve fallen for, or the original Arts & Crafts fireplace, I can’t give you that. Soz.

Farrow & Ball Peignoir Worsted

Peignoir & Worsted

Don’t try and replicate a room that resembles nothing like the one you actually own. Not everything translates from one property to another. For example, certain wall colours work because of natural light, the size and style of property. You can take certain elements but don’t try to force your property to be something it isn’t. Work with what you have as it will look a million times better in the end. It’s good to have aspirations and push your property to be the best it can be, but there are limits. Don’t bite off more than your house can chew.


So they be my top 3 Pinterest tips. Helpful? Hopefully it will be to at least one of you out there. I’m sure i’ll think of another 3 in due course, and as soon as I do, I will be sure to share with you.

First blog post of 2018. Done.











  1. Pragya says

    True that! Can’t remember how many times I have been lazy enough to search for inspiration using vague terms and have been disappointed with the results. Quite useful tips here. Thanks! And wish you a Happy New Year too..:)

    I have been following your posts for a month now and absolutely love ’em. Love the humour in your posts. And find ’em equally informative. Thanks.

    • Karen Knox says

      Oh that’s brilliant, thank you. So glad you find them useful. Always nice to know someone it getting something out of my ramblings.
      Happy new year! 🙂

  2. Glyn latham says

    Happy New Year Karen. Just found your website at the end of December and I love it – you are so productive, it’s inspiring. Thanks for the Pinterest insights as it can be very overwhelming me thinks!

    • Karen Knox says

      Ah, thank you for your kind words Glyn. Glad you found me and that today’s post was helpful. Happy New Year!

  3. Jill says

    Really interesting, I can get lost in Pinterest for hours. Is there a way of getting rid of those “promoted” adverts, they drive me nuts? I’ve just gone back to look at the board I made for the new bathroom we did last year, it’s interesting to see how much of it we ended up following and how much we didn’t!

    • Karen Knox says

      I’m afraid not. They suck don’t they? Nothing social about social media any more. It’s all one big money making marketing platform.
      And yes, it’s mad looking back at a Pinterest board isn’t it and seeing the process from initial concept to completion. Proper journey!

  4. I also have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. Less love lately. The images I’m shown are mostly boring and uninspiring, and ugh how many irrelevant adverts?? Their algorithms seem to be trying to be too clever, but are in fact being stupid. I feel like I’ve seen every ‘grey, blush and copper bedroom’ in the world, haha! I seem to spend half my time clicking on the 3 dots under images to “hide” them, in an attempt to tell the algorithms to stop showing me this shit, but I don’t think they’re getting the message.
    But on the flip side, Pinterest is a great way to collect ideas, which I’m currently doing for our house renovation (hopefully happening in the near future) and this is helping me figure out what I really want. I’ve changed my mind about things countless times, much to my husband’s delight (not), but as you say, that bit of to-and-fro-ing is necessary to get the best out of all the ideas and really nail the design so I can create a home that I’ll be happy to live in for many years without having to alter it again.
    There was a time when inspiration on Pinterest replaced magazines for me, but now most of the inspiration I collect does NOT come from what Pinterest thinks I want to see, so it is failing in that respect for me. My inspiration comes from magazines, bloggers, interior designers’ portfolios etc.

  5. Such a brilliant post and such good advice!! The last point is a particularly personal one to me. When we were house-searching last year (side point: that feels weird to say ‘last year’… anyway), my other half kept trying to show me properties outside of the Victorian/Edwardian style that I love. And he tried to convince me that I could fulfil all my wildest interior wishes in a different style/period/era of house. No, no I can’t. I love the high ceilings, the big windows, the beautiful cornices, the general architecture of that style. I can’t force that style into another period of home, it’s going to look awkward, it’s going to throw off my vision. I’m so happy with what we’ve ended up with (a lovely double fronted Victorian built in the late 1880’s) because the home suits my personal interior style perfectly. Maybe we could have gotten a bigger house or a bigger garden or whatever else if I’d been less picky but I also know it was absolutely right considering my passion for interiors – and what I find myself pinning on my boards 😉 Excellent points darling and a very happy new year to you xx

  6. A great post, I sometimes find you can drown in Pinterest and I wrote a post last year on my blog about having too much inspiration and how it made me spin, I was so confused. I do use Pinterest for inspiration of course but I try not to use it as the sole source as you’ll end up, as you mention, diluting your scheme!

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